Programme for Government


Last week was a big week in the Scottish Parliament.  Humza Yousaf delivered his first Programme for Government which sets out the proposed Bills and policies for the coming year for the SNP/Green coalition Government.  We asked some of friends to tell us whet
her they think it will deliver for Scotland.  Here are their responses:

For the most vulnerable, we hope so. The focus on tackling poverty is right but it needs to be laser-focused. The continued roll-out of the Scottish Child Payment, extended childcare provision and increasing the minimum pay for social care workers to £12 an hour are all very welcome – but as the Poverty Alliance have said, the Scottish Government needs to go much further and faster amidst the cost of living crisis. 

It’s clear that the status quo with drug and alcohol policy can’t continue with the number of deaths still so high. The proposals put forward by the Scottish Government will require a lot of hard policy thinking to get them right, especially in the context of some powers being reserved to Westminster. We very much welcome consulting on banning single-use vapes – doing this is essential for children’s health and for the environment. 

Consulting on proposals to end conversion practices will be essential to getting any legislation in this area right for everyone in Scotland. There are many other areas within the Programme for Government where the Scottish Government can learn from the expertise of the faith community for better policy outcomes.

 There was however one glaring omission – despite the Scottish Government’s policy position that prostitution is a form of violence against women, there continues to be no proposals for legislation that reflects this. We’d encourage everyone to listen to SNP MSP Ruth Maguire’s powerful contribution on this point. 

 Chris Ringland, Public Policy Officer – Evangelical Alliance Scotland 


Back in 2015 after the Margo MacDonald’s Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill was defeated. At that time the Government promised the folk of Scotland better palliative care provision. Well, we are still waiting. The hope at that time was, if we improve our palliative care provision there would be no need of such a change in the law. So here we are again in 2023 debating the same issue under a different name and we still don’t have a strategy for Palliative Care in Scotland.

My main concern just now is not only the lack of a strategy on palliative care but the Government’s lack of commitment in developing such a strategy.  It is my understanding the Health Minister has confirmed the publication of the Palliative Care Strategy is postponed yet again, this time until an unspecified point in 2024. Indeed, it would seem that very little work has been completed on its content. I also understand the Minister expressed vague support for better provision but was very light on the detail. While in terms of community nursing team involvement in treating patients in their own homes, the Minister just said that there were several groups “considering” it.

If this Bill is defeated again, it will be back in 5 years under a different name, but with the same aim if we don’t fully address the issue of palliative care provision in Scotland. I do hope you will challenge  with me both the lack of palliative care and the move to change the law that would allow Physician Assisted Suicide in Scotland.

Speak up now before it is to late…

Francis Edwards,

Lead Nurse for Children’s Palliative care & Bereavement Support (Retired) BSc (Hons) RGN, RSCN.